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THE 

OATH 


ABJURATION confidered^ 

J^oth as to the Larvfulnefs and Expediency of it's behg taken by the 
■Minifiers of the Church of Scotland, in a Letter to a Friend, 

SIR, 

N our iafl: Converfation about the Abjuration Oath, which 
is now by Lawimpofed on the Minifters of the Church of 
Scotland ; you were pleafed' to fay, That fome things I then 
offered upon that Subjefl deferved your'Confideration, 
and defired you might have the Subftance thereof in Writing, 
that you might think of them at Leifure. And in this I a- 
gree with you, that Men are more readily perfwaded by calm 
and deliberate weighing of Reafons that ly fo before them, than 
by an Altercation in Words, which very often raifes Paflion, and,' 
if not difcreetly managed, tends rather to perplex, than to en¬ 
lighten one’s Mind.^ 

And furely this, if any thing In a World, requires our moff fe- 
rious Thoughts, being a Matter in its own Nature fo weighty, 
and of the laft Confequence, not only to particular Minifters,'but 
to this whole Church ; and therefore all ihQM\.mRtvsm Scotland 
are highly concerned, and fhourd be very willing to fee this Mat¬ 
ter in its true Light, without beingLyaffed by any kind of Preju¬ 
dice, either of Intereft or Humor. 

We have feen a Paper publifiied within thefe few Weeks; 
wherein this Matter is handled with that Weight of Reafon and 
Solidity of Judgment which became the Perfon who is Laid to be 
its Author, whofe Firmnefs to the Principles of the Church of Scot¬ 
land, and good Services done -to her, ought to make us receive 

^ what- 












(s’).. 

whatever he fays on fuch a Subject, in his old Age, with a parti- 
cular Regard, Yet after all, it feems neceflary, that fomething 
further be faid about it; becaufe it may be there are fome who 
liave not feen what is in that Paper ; and there have been fome 
Difficulties propofed about the Oath, which either that Author 
had not Occafion to hear, or did not think worthy of an Anfwer; 
and which notwithftanding, according to Mens different Views 
and Capacities, may appear to others to be confiderable. And if 
no Anfwer be offered to them, might appear to fome to be unan- 
fwetable ; and therefore to be waved of Defign. 

And here I fliall freely own. That the impofing of Oaths upon 
Subjects that are complex or doubtful, hath been juftly complain¬ 
ed of, under many Governments, as being a Snare to Mens.Con- 
fciences, and depriving the Government of the Services of its beft'^ 
Friends, who are always tender, and fearful even of lawful Oaths,- 
while others will flick at none. In vain does a Government 
think to fecure it felfby Oaths, unlefs all the Subjects were con-- 
feiencious* 

Yet this Oath of Abjuration feem’d neceffary, becaufe of a 
Competition of Rights to the Crown; and Her Majefly could 
never trull: the Allegiance of thefe who did not believe Her Riglit 
to be good, or reckoned the Pretender’s to be fo. And tho there 
was a Bond of Affurance, formerly figned in Scotland^ by fuch as . 
fwore the Allegiance; yet an Oath of the fame Import was juftly 
reckoned a much ftronger Evidence of Mens Principles as to the 
Lawfulnefs of the Revolution, and the Validity of the QLieen’s> 
Right,- which is founded thereupon, than any fimple Subfcripti- 
on could be.’ Befide, it was very neceffary that the Succeffion to 
the Crown, which is by Law. eftabliflied in the Proteftant Lino 
of the Family of Hanover^ fhould be fworn to be maintained by all 
that would be reckoned loyal Subjeds of the Qtieen of Britain ;, 
and who pretend to anyTruft or Influence among her People; 
while there are fo many open, and a great many more fecret Ene¬ 
mies to it. 

Its well known, this Oath was at firft framed in Englmd^ and 

we have beea for a loiig time accuftomed to be jealous^of any thing. 

-.. - - - 


t 




. 1 . 

that comes to ns from that Airth. And the firfl: View we had 
of its being impofed upon any herein ScotUnd.^ was at the Fram¬ 
ing of the Union: To which the Body of this Naion,anderpecial1y 
the Minifters, fliewed a particular Averfioii. And the impofing 
of a long Oath framed in England^ and mentioning fome Ads of 
the Engiij}j Parliament, which we then did not, and were not 
obliged to know, being a probable Conlequent of that Union, 
which however we had no liking to, its no Wonder if at that time 
the Minifters, and even fome Judicatures of this Church fhewed 
their Inclination to be free of it; and yet all this fliould not pre¬ 
judge us againft taking a nearer View of it now, when it is im¬ 
pofed by an Authority, to which we mull: be lubjed ; and if up¬ 
on fuch a View^it appears, that this Oath ought to be taken, our 
doing fo now, needs not at all be reckoned inconfiftent with 
any thing that was either done or faid about it before. 

It comes indeed now to the Minifters of the Church of Scotland^ 
under very great Difadvantages, being impofed by a Claufe in 
the Ad of Toleration,wherein there are fome things, with which 
they are very much, and very juftly grieved: But becaufe the Le- 
giflature hath thought fit to Enad fome things which we wifli they 
had not done, muft we therefore refufe to confider and comply 
with other things they appoint ? According to this Men fhould 
never yield Obedience to a Government in any one particular In- 
ftance, unlefs they were pleafed with all the Laws they make : 
May we not as well obey one Claufe ofan Ad, whiles others in 
it difpleale us; as give Obedience to one intire Ad, while there 
are others of the fame Authority with which we are diffatisfied ? 
And it deferves to be confidered. That the annexing this Oath 
unto the Ad of Toleration, was from no ill Defign againft the 
Miniftry of Scotland did really proceedfrom their beft Friends,, 

who, I dare fay, never dreamed it would ftraiten the Miniftry of 
this eftablifhed Church ; but defigned thereby to reftrain froimhe 
Benefit of that Ad, a Set Jacobites^ and declared Enemies to the 
Revolution and Proteftant Succeflion, and who they very juftly 
thought could never take it with any Confidence or Confcience, 
confidering the Meafures and Principles they have hitherto gone 

A upon. 



; - - . ' ^ '4 ^ . 

' ' tpon. And' accordingly the putting in this Claufe into the 
A£t, hath effectually defeat a great part of what was at firfl: de- 
r ! figned by it; fo as mightily to gravel anddifoblige thefe who ex- 
pecled the greatefl: Advantage from it. And while fome com- 
‘ plain of the Aff ofToleration, as not containing fome very necel- 
fary Reftridtions, and yet grudge at the inferting of the Abjurati¬ 
on into it, they complain of the only Reftridion in it, that can be 
, ' of the grcateft Advantage to this Church. 

Thefe Things being premifed, I come to Ipeak of the Oath it felf, 
concerning which, it will beneceffary toconfider, firfr, TheLaw- 
; fulnefsofit, and then. Whether it is moft for the Intereftof the 

Church, that her Minifrers either take or refufe it; and confe- 
quently what all of them ought to do in the prefent Circumftances. 
J. In this Oath, fome pretend there is Hazard of taking GOD’s 

Name in vain, feing no Body doubts either our Loyalty to the 
1?/ Queen, our Zeal againfl: the Pretender, or Affedlion to the Pro- 

•| teftant Suceelfron. And becaufe we* have taken the Oath of Al- 

legiance, and fignedthc Affurance already, and yet are command- 
f ed in this Aft to fwear the Allegiance over again by it felf, and 

r . then with the fame Breath, to repeat it in the Body of the Ab- 

juration. But if fuch as propole this Difficulty, are ferious, they 
li; may be eafily fatisfied, that fome things which might have been 

i'l Reafons againfl: the impofing of an Oath, will not conclude*3- 

gainft the taking ofit when it is impofed. And he can never be 
diarged as fwearing in vain, that only fwears when he is com¬ 
manded byj lawful Authority. So that if the Matter of an 
Oath be lawful, it becomes Duty for a Subjeft to repeat it, as 
often as he is obliged to do fo by a Government which he is bound 
to obey. , And it they command him to repeat it oftner thanffie 
thinks needful, that is nonC of his Fault. No body reckons they 
■ are to blame, who being Members of different Courts, or afting 
p in different Capacities, are obliged to repeat the fame Oaths on fe- 

: veral Occafions, and even perhaps feveral times in one Day, that 

: they may be qualified effeBumi, 

’; It is next pleaded. That in the Abjuration, Minifrers are oblig¬ 

ed to allett upon Oath the Queen’s Right to theXrown, whereof 

they 



they are not competent Judges; as not being able to determine^ 
nor obliged to know what makes a fufficient Right to an Inheri¬ 
tance, much lefs to a Throne, about which there is Debate. But 
does any Man that believes the Lawfulnefs of the Revolution, and 
hath with a^good Confcicnce. figned the Affurance, doubt the 
(Queen’s Right at this time of Day ? And where there is a Compe¬ 
tition of Rights to the Crown, every one is concerned to be deter¬ 
mined; who hath the true Right: This is a Matter wherein it is 
fuppofed no Man is undetermined and indifferent in his Thoughts* 
but every one gives Judgment in his own Mind, in Favours ofone 
fide or t’other : So that here, a iV/an only declares upon Oath his 
Sentiment concerning the Validity and Juftice of Her Majefty’s 
Right: x4nd if heis fincere in doing fo, he incurs no Danger of 
Perjury, even tho his Judgment fliould happen to be founded on 
weak Grounds. 

Some find Difficulty in fwearing, That they believe thePre-? 
tender hath not any Right or Title rvhatfoever to the Crown^ &c. 
But in this Part of the Oath, we do not affert any thing con¬ 
cerning the Pretender’s being, or not being the late. King James\ 
Son ; that is a Matter of Fatff not capable to be determined by us, 
■and which we are not much concerned to know. For his being 
of the Royal Line, is what meerly of it felt cannot noiv give him, 
or any elfe, a Right to the Crown. Whether before the Revohir 
tion, Proximity of Blood, without any other Qiialification, gave 
a compleat Right to the Succeflion, is what we have not Time 
here to debate : Seing it,is plain, that fince the Revolution, that 
Matter is fet upon a very diftiniF and clear Bottom. 

For then the Parliament, the Reprefentatives of the Nation, 
finding the Throne vacant by the Abdication or Forfeiture of 
the late King did very juftly reckon that the hereditary 

Right of all his Pofterity fell together with His. And that no Bo¬ 
dy coulcL afterward juftly claim to fucceed as Fleir to Him 
who had no right himfelf that any could fucceed unto : And this 
is-plain in the cafe-of all Forfeitures. Therefore it was in the 
Power ofthe Parliament to fettle the Succeffion in what manner 
they pleafed j And they finding that the late King’s being a Papift, 

aid 





r ^; 

and the Opinion of His Governing only by a Hereditary Right, 
had led him to rule in an Arbitrary Manner, and almofb intirely 
to fubvert our Religion and Liberties: They filled the Throne 
with a Succeffor, whofe Right to the Crown was undoubtedly a 
Parliamentary Right. And that thefe Caufes, from whence fo 
much Mifchief had arifen to us before, might be removed, and pre¬ 
vented in all Time coming, they determined. That whoever 
were our Sovereigns afterward, mufi: needs be Protefiant; and 
fettled the Succeflion to the Crown, in fuch a manner as made it 
' evident and undeniable, that there is no other Title to it, but a 
Parliamentary Right. And whoever now hath not that Parlia¬ 
mentary Right, hath not any Right or Title rvhatfoever. 

Its true, in other Cafes there are Rights of various kinds, among 
which a Right|of Blood is reckoned one. Rut here, tho’ Proximity 
of Blood might be a Foundation upon which a compleat Right 
might have been efiablillied, provided the Legiflature had fuper- 
added their Choice and Nomination thereunto; yet by it felfit 
is far from being a compleat Right, as things now Band; feing it 
wants that which is eflential to the making up thereof: Now a 
Right being Qtiid Comflexum^ quod confiat ex integris Cmfis ; he 
that hath not a Right thus conflitute, but wants that, with¬ 
out which, according to the Principles of the Revolution, there 
can be no Right; concerning fuch a one, it may be very fafely 
fworn. That he hath not any Right or Title whatfoever. 

Yet in fettling the Succefiion, the Legiflature, whatever Free¬ 
dom they might have had, did very wifely choofe to keep as much 
by the Royal Line as they could ; to hinder others from difturb- 
ing the publick Quiet, by fettingup vain and ambitious Preten¬ 
ces : And becaufe they knew People would moll: peaceably fub- 
mit to a Sovereign of that Family, on which they had been for 
many Ages accuflomed to look with Veneration. 

In the following Words of the Oath, having afferted, That we 
believe theVretender hath not any Right to the Crown' we renounce 
refufe and abjure any Allegiance or Obedience to him. This abjur¬ 
ing of Allegiance to the Pretender, is evidently founded on our 
.Belief, that he hath no Right, and is never to be extended further 

than 


. f ; 

tlian the Ground on which it (lands. No Man of anyConfci- 
ence will incline to fwear, 7'hat he fliould never fubmit him- 
felf to any particular Perfon you can -name, tho at prefent, that 
Perfon were the Man in all the World,that were moft unlike ever 
to become our Sovereign. But the plain Meaning ofthis Abjurati¬ 
on is, That whereas the Pretender takes to himfelf the Title of 
King of Britain^ and challenges Allegiance ancP Obedience to be 
juft now^ due to him'as fuch ; And whereas there are in Britain, a 
SortofAfen, who either openly own, or fecretly reckon them- 
felves to be, not the Queen’s Subjecls, but his ; and think them- 
felves obliged to obey him, and fight for him wdien called; There¬ 
fore to diftinguifh our feives from fuch, we upon Oath declare, 
That in this A/atter we are not of their Principles; and that we 
own no manner of Allegiance or Obedience to him, whom they 
look on as their Sovereign. 

Some are (Iraitned to fwear as it follows in this Oath, ThaU 
they will defend the Queen agdinfl allTrditerom Confpi7'acies and At¬ 
tempts whatfoever, which floall be • made againfi Her Perfon^ Crown 
or Dignity ; and that they will do their utmop Endeavour to difclofe 
and make known to Her Majejiy^ and Eler Succefforsj all Treafons^ 
and Tra iterom Confpiracies^ which they fjall know to he againp Her or 
any of them. This to fome looks, as if it obliged them to (land 
up for the Sovereign, while aTiiig in the moll: Defpotical and Ar¬ 
bitrary Afanner, and to defend Him or Pier againfi: all kind of x4r* 
temp-ts upon any Accounts whatfoever ; and confequently looks 
as if the Swearer of this-Oath were not only bound to Paflivc 
Obedience and Non-Refifiance himfelf, but to aflifi: the Sove¬ 
reign, againfi: all Refifcance made upon any Account. Eefide, 
feing this Oath muft be taken in the Senfe of theLegiflaturc who 
impofe it, it feems hard to oblige private Afen to difcover all Trea- 
■fons and Traitorous Confpiracies, which they (hall know to be 
againfi Her Aiajefly or Her SuccefTors: Bccaufe we do not know 
how far the Law extends Treafon, and what things it conflrufls 
to be fo ; much lefsdo we knoyv what the Laws may afterward 
declare treafonable, or whether there be Laws yet (landing tin- 
repealed, or that there (liall be Laws enabled afterward, by. 

which 



( s ) 

which fucli things may be declared treafonable, which we may 
think not at all fo. This, I think, is the Objeftion made againll 
this Claufe in its full flrengtb. 

But here it is to be confidered. That by the Principles of the 
Revolution, upon which the prefentGovernment is founded, eve¬ 
ry thing that was accounted treafonable under the late Reigns, is 
notfonow. By the Revolution, andeverfince, our Legiilature 
Iiave intireiy difclaimed the Doftrine of abfolute Non-Refift- 
ance • and of late in the Cafe of Dr. Sacheverell, have exprefly 
condemned it. So that it is not to be fuppofed, that by this Claufe 
of the Oath, the Government could defign Men fhould be bound 
tr, that which is contrary to the Foundations of the prefent Efta- 
blifhment and the declared Senfe of the Legiflature. Thefc only 
are treafonable Confpiracies and Attempts which are made againll 
the inft Rit’ht of the Sovereign, governing according to Law, and 
the fundamental Stipulation betwixt Him and the People. Thus 
tlie Notion of Treafon is already Hated ; the Government 
hath declared their Senfe of it, and they underlland the Senfe of 
..11 men nf Revolution Principles about it: So that there can be 
no Miftake in the Oath as to this Point. We are not therefore 
concerned, what things were reckoned Treafon under the late 
Governments; nor what, by a Stretch of Law, Men may be 
nleafed to call Treafon afterward ; but are to confider, what is 
1 eallv treafonable againll the Sovereign now, upon the Principles 
of the Revolution, and againll a Government founded upon, 
and regulated by Claims or Bills of Right, and the Articles of 
TTninn And tho fotne Laws made under the late Governments 
aTwhich they were pleafed to call Treafon whatever they 
ri-iriupht fit') are not particularly repealed ; yet all fuch Laws are 
-pealed ll, the bull Jby the Claim of Right, and the Articles of 
Union, in fo far as they are inconfillent therewith. Its true, eve¬ 
ry Man that fwears this Oath, cannot perhaps fully underlland 
all the particular Laws now in Force concerning Treafon; and 

confequently cannot exaaiy determine, what inthe Senfe there- 

ofmav be conllruaed a traiterous Confpiracy and Attempt againll 

die Sovereign; yet by the Oath it fell, no Man is bound to 

oil- 


difcover any thing as fuch, but what he know^ and reckong to be 
traiterous j and mull be regulated by his Light and Confdeiice in this 
Matter. And it is ridiculous to fay, That this Oath obliges Men to 
run to the Government, with every fooliih Expceffion, which fome 
out of Ignorance or Drunkcnnefs fhall happen to utter: This can never 
he the Senfe of the Legiflature *, nor v/ould any wife men thank fucli 
as troubled theni with thefe Informations. No certainly, that Man 
d^oes, faithfully-keep his-Oath, that lhall difclofe whatever he knoweth 
to be.contrived or done againft the Quiet or Safety of a jud Govern¬ 
ment, regulated as is above eipreffed. And to this we are bound al¬ 
ready-by our Oath ot Allegiance, jea by the Laws of GOD without 
any Oath atalj.. 

Next by this Oath we are hound to maintain the SvQcejJion-rif 'the 
Crown after the Deceafe ofHer prefent Majefly^ and for Default of Iffne 
of Hex Body to the Frhicefs Sophia of Hanover, and her He/Vj-, l&c. 
And this to fome looks like an uncertain and moveable kind of Oath; 
becaufe they underftand the JBngliJJj Parliament to have fome Years 
ago declared that Succelfion to be alterable by the Legiflature: But 
eVery Body knows, that whatever Declaration the Efigli/Jj Parlia¬ 
ment then made, was far from being defigned as a Foundation for any 
Alteration of the SucceiTion, or in the lead to weaken the Family of 
Hanover's Title to the Crown : But was only defigned to fhew that the 
Right of that Family to the Crown, was a Parliamentary Right; in the 
very Nature whereof it is included, That fuch a Right mud be alterable 
by the Legiflature. And this was done, in Oppofirion to fuch as pre¬ 
tended there could be no Right to the Crown, but fuch as was Heredi¬ 
tary and Indcfeafible. But now fince the Union, that Matter is put 
beyond all Queftioii; for the Family of Succeffion to the Crown 

is made a Part and a Fundamental one too, of the Stipulation be-, 
twixt the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England ; and which con* 
fequently no Parliament ( that depends for it’s Conditutipn and 

Power upon that Stipulation ; and mud be regulated in it’s Proceedings 
concerning this Kingdom by the Articles of Union ) can in the lead 
pretend to alter, or meddle with. 

But come we now to that which is argued againft this Oath with th^^ 
greated Warmth, and the faired Appearance of Reafon. There is irf 
it Mention of two Acts of the Englijh Parliament, in thefe Tefms, And 
1 do Faithfully promife to the utniofl of my Power to Support"'dlaintain, 
and Defend theSucceffion ofthe Crown againft him the faid ^and 

all other Ferfgns whatjoever, as the fame k and /lands fettled, fpanfAd, 

B V* "hitd'tuJed 



( 10 ) 

'intituled], An a£V declaring the Rights and Liberties of the Subje£f,' 
and fettling the Sucteifioii of the Crown, to Her prefent Majefty, 
and the Heirs of Her Body being Proteftants j And as thg 
fame^ iy another AB Intituled^ An. Ad: for the further Limitation 
of the Crown, and better iecuring the Rights and Liberties of the 
Subje6t j /V, and jictnds fettled and entailed^ after the Deceafe of Her 
Majejly, and for Default of Ijjue of Her Majefiy, to the Princefs Sophia 
EleBrefs, and Dutchejs < owager of Hanover, and the Heirs of her Body 
being Froteflants. And here lies the great Difficulty, becaufe in the 
lalf of thefe ^dls of Parliament, there are certain Terms or Condi¬ 
tions required of the Succeflbr, vvfiich fome think are a part of the 
Settlement of the Succeliion ^ and that every one that fwears to that 
Settlement, fwears to maintain all the Terms of it, one of which is. 
That the Succeflbr muft, by his Coronation Oath, fwear to preferve 
to the Biftiops and Clergy of England, all fuch Rights and Privileges, 
as by Law do or (hall appertain to them; And another of thefe 
Terms is, That whofoever shall hereafter com« to the Poflelllon of 
this Crown, shall join in Communion with the Church of England, 
as by Law eftabliflied. So that they reckon, he that takes this Oath, 
fwears to maintain the Succeflbr’s Right, only in cafe he come up 
to thefe Terms ^ and that every fuch Swearer is obliged, in his Stati- 
tion, to endeavour that thefe Conditions of the Settlement be main¬ 
tained. Or at leaft, they think a man by fwearing to a Settlement of 
the Succeflion, whereof thefe are made Conditions, muft needs be con- 
llruded to approve of them, as jiifl: and reafbaable Terms 5 and 
neither of thele can men of Presbyterian Principles do, with a good 
Confcience. 

There are fome indeed, who, in Reafoning upon this Subjed, feem to 
be aware that all the Provifions of Government mentioned in the Ad 
for further Limitation of the Cromi, and better fecuring the Rights and 
Liberties eftbe SubjeSi^ cannot with any Shew of Reafon be counted 
a Part of the Snbjed of the Oath, or Sworn to by him that takes it; 
yet they fay, By this Oath we will certainly be oblig’d to maintain, 
or at’leaft approve the Conditions of the Entail mentioned in the fore- 
cited Ad,, which are. That the Succeflbr muft not be reconciled to, 
or hold Communion with the Church of Rome ; That he lhall not 
marry a Papift 5 That he fhall take the Coronation Oath eftabliflied by 
Ad of Parliament in •, And that he fhall .make, repeat and 

fubfcribe a> Declaration, appointed by Ad of Parliament 5 which 
Declaration is a.^renouncing the Dodrine ot Tranfubftantiation, the 

liivocatiofiti 


Invocation of Saints, and the Sacrifice of the Mafs. Now, fay they^ 
can any Presbyterian fwear to maintain the SuccefTion as fettled in 
that Ad of Parliament, whereby the Succefibr can have no Right 
to the Crown unlefs he oblige himfelf by Oath to maintain the Hier¬ 
archy of the Church of England ? 

And here perhaps it may b§ worth the while to obferve, That this Reafo- 
niagisnot altogether fo ftrong and juft, as it appears tojome. Forfirft.ilj 
may bequeftioned,Whether thetSucccftbr’s taking the Coronation!Oath,be 
as much a Condition of the £ntail, as his not being of the Church of Rome^ 
andhis not marrying a Papift, are? For thefe two are exprefly declared 
to be irritant Claufcs of the Entail ^ fo that it the Succeflbr is either Papift: 
or marries a Papift, he is declared for ever Incapable to Inherit or pof**, 
fefs the Crown, and the Subjeds are exprefly abfolved of their Alle¬ 
giance 5 and the Crown is to defeend to the next Proteftant Heir, as 
if the other were naturally dead. jBut as to the Succeflbr’s taking the 
Coronation Oath, it is only faid, That every King or ^een of thi^ 
Realm, who Jhall fucceed to the Crown by virtue of this Acl, Jhall 
have the Coronation Oath adminiflred- to them at their reflective 
Coronations : But it is not faid, as in the other two Cafes, that the 
Succeflbr shall incur any Forfeiture or Difability, if either that Oath 
fhould not be admiiiiftred to him j or if he ftiould decline to take it | 
only the Parliament may reckon with him about it, and adjuft that 
Matter as well as they can. And if the Parliament deligned, that by* 
refufing the Coronation Oath, or any Claufc of it, the Succeffor fhould 
incur the fame Penalties that are annexed unto the other two^ Condi¬ 
tions above mentioned, would they not have expreft it hercr^^ Veil 
as concerning them ? And their not doing lo, is a plain Evidence that 
they did not mean this fhould be any irritant Condition of the Entail: 
And confequently the Succeflbr’s taking the Coronation Oath, is none 
of the Eflential and Neceflary Conditions, upon which we niuft fweac 
in the yrfbjuration to maintain his Right to the Crown 5 and our Oatli 
is not at all concerned about his doing it, or not. 

2ly. The Sovereign’s taking the Coronation Oath, can be none of the 
Conditions, upon ‘ which we fwear to maintain the SuccelFion ; be- 
caufe his taking that Oath is not what the Succeflbr does qua tals,& in 
petitorio', but betakes it qua\Rex, in poJJeJSorio, The words of the Adi 
are. That every King and ^tieen of this Realm, fhall have the Coronation 
Oath aiminifir ate to Him or Her at their refpective Coronations^ Now 
the Coronation is a Solemnity not performed till the Sovereign is in 
PofTefTion , and fometimes not for a great while after he is adtually in 

B 2 the 


- ( 12 ) 

t|ie Exerciie of the Government and perhaps after’Allegiance is fwori^ 
to Him by many of the Subjects. So that no man car? be fuppofed to 
fwear to that as a Condition of Entail or SuccelTion, which the„ Sove¬ 
reign is not to dotin' he hath adually fucceeded, and confequently fup- 
poiing the other two irritant Claufes of the Entail come within the 
Abjuration, this cannot be thought to come in with them. 

lly. Have not thefe who are of the Principles of the Church of 
Bn^land^ as much Reafon to complain, That the SuccelTor is oblig’d by 
' the Adi of Union to fwear and fubfcribe at his Accesfion to the Crown, 
That they fhall inviolably maintain and preferve the Presbyterian Govern- 
ment, JforjJji^j Difcipline, Righti and Privileges oj the Church of 
Scotland, as eflablijlsed by the Lam of Scotland in Profecution of the 
Claim of Right} 

^4tly* In the Coronation Oath, the Sovereign fwcars to preferve to the 
Bilhops and Clergy of England^ all, fuch Rights and Privileges, as by 
Law do or lliall appertain to them. Would thefe who reafon agaiiifi 
this, wifh the Sovereign at Liberty,, to do any thing againll the- 
ERablilliment of the Church of England in an Arbitrary manner, and 
either without or cdnfrary to'Law? If once a Sovereign comes to adlin 
this maimer, is not our Safety, as well as theirs, gone ? We fhould 
Wifh to fee the Church 6PEngland reforrhedi but not by any Illegail, 

. Tyrannical or Arbitrary Proceedings of the Sovereign : And do we not 
' lee wife and thinking Men, however zealous they are for the Interefts 
' an(^griiiciples of the Chnich oi England^ yet very tender of fuch things 
>as,t^(^to'fhake the Legal Eftablifhment of the Church of Scotland ^ 

' {)ecai;jp.. they knovy fuch Proceedings ftrike at the Foundations of their 
own Though at the fame Time they own they would be very glad to 
, fee our ConRitution altered, by fair and juft Methods 5 but that, I am 
can never be done., 

Now thefe Things 1 only point at by the Way, to ftiew the'Weak- 
nefs of thefe R'eafohings, upon which fome are-pleafed to lay a great 
. dea]LofW,eight;_,,But itl make it appear, that the Gath of Abjuration 
.hath, no Reference to any thing contained in the Acis, which are cited 
therein, further than what is repeated out of them in the Oath it felfj. 

, then jt hppe all the Oljedtions which are made againft the Oath, be- 
caufe oLany fuppofed Reference to thefe Adis, will be fully anfwered 
• and taken- off. , ^ ^ 

X know the Mentioning of thefe two Adlsof Parliament in the Oith^ 
efpecially the laft of them, has given the greateft Gccafion to the 
< railing Duft about it *, and I cannot but agree with thefe thaX wifh they 

had 



had been altogether left out ^ for I amperfwaded the Obligation of the 
Gath had been'astull, and even juft the fame, as it is now, tho there 
had not been a Word about them in it: Yet it was thought neceffar^. 
That in an Oath, wherein Men were to fwear to maintain theSuccsf- 
. iion of the Crown, to the Proteftant Heirs of the Family of 
. thefe Adts of Parliament ftiould be mentioned, in which that Succelfioii 
was eftabliftied. And was it ever imagined till now, that when Adts 
of Parliament are cited in an Oath, : all that take the Oath, either 
fwear unto, or approve of every thing contained in thefe Ads ? In 
the Kational Covenant, there are at leaft fifty Adts of Parliament cited, 
which I believe all that fwore that Oath, never thought themfelves 
concerned about, further than what was repeated out ot* them in the 
Oath it felf. For in fome of thefe Adts, the Epifcopal Hierarchy is ex- 
prefly. infert, as in the %th, Adt, Parliament loth. K. James 6th. where¬ 
in Papifts and Priefts are ordain’d to be puniftied, by Civil and Ecclefi- 
aftical Pains 5 It is faid in exprefs words. Our faid Sovereign hord and 
Bfiates fore faid. Commands and Otdains., all Arch-BUhops, and Bifhops, 
Presbyteries, to call hefoine them the /aids Papifis, Jefiiites, Jemhiary Briefs, 
and other Refetters, See. Now did every one that fwore the National 
Covenant' fwear to, or approve of the Ecclefiaftical Jurifdidtion o#‘ 
Arch-Bifhops and Bilhops in Scotland ; becaufe it is mentioned in an 
A6k, which that Oath doth cite? And if it were fit, I could Ihew you 
many other things, contained in the Adts of Parliament that are cited 
in the National Covenant, which the Swearers of that Oath would ne¬ 
ver have approven of, much lefs, have bound themfelves unto: All that 
they ^were concerned in was only fo much of the Tenor of thefe Adis, 
as was repeated in the Oath it felf 5 and the Oath of Abjuration is 
juft as much concerned with wliat is contained iii the Adis that are 
mentioned in it. ■ 

But here it is argued. That in the Abjuration, we fwear to maintain 
the Succeftion to the Crown as it is fettled and entailed in the A6ks of 
Parliament there fpoken of-, by which they think the Swearer of that 
Oath is obliged to withdraw his Support and ^ ffiftance from theSuceflbr to 
the Crown, unlefs he comes up to all the Terms that are IjDecified in thefe 
Adis Or that he muft endeavour in his Station, and to the utmoft of 
his Power to fee the Terms of that Settlement made good 5 two of 
^ which Terms are, That he muft: be of the Communion of the Churcb of 
^-England', and muft fwear bv his Coronation Oath, to maintain the Pri¬ 
vileges of theBifhops and Clergy that are, or lhall be eftablilhed by 
Law-i and here^he whole Weight lies upon the poor little Particle, as. 

And 


, . ( H ). 

And there is fuch a Burden laid upon it as it will never he able, and 
was never deligned to bear : and this miferiible Particle is To teafed 
and tortured upon this Occafion, as it never was unce it was firft knowa 
in the World. 

But if a Body might be patiently heard on tlr’sSnl jed, There are many 
variousAcceptations ol this Partiile, inC^'nv'eifariou and Writing, 

Some Times it is Redundant, and lerving for nothing but a Tranfition 
from one Sentence to another*. Look but into the third 'Paragraph of the 
^National Covenant, and you will find it Paid, M.my AEts of Parliament 
mre conceived for Maintejtance of G OY)\ tnie and Chrifian Religmi^ oi 
for infiance^ &c. Now would not the Senfe of t.^efe Words be as full, if 
the as there were fupprefTed or taken out ? Sometimes that Particle 
is ofthe fame Import with for or becaufe, as not only in common Con- 
verfation we fay the Faults of foine Men are aggravated, as they are Com¬ 
mitted againft particular Obligations, i, e. for or becanfe they are fb 
committed j but even in the National Covenant, it is faid, Papi[Is and 
PrieEis are by Law ordained to bepunif)d as common Enemies to all Chrift- 
ianGovernmenty as adverfarks to GOD’s true-Religion j &c. i. e. for ov 
hecaafe they are Enemies rhereunta This Particle alfo is commonly 
put tor an Indicative, and is taken in tlie fame Senfe with which. Thus 
in citing either a PafTage of Scripture, or-of any other Writing, we ufu- 
ally fay, as it is written in fuch a place, i. e. which is written in fuch a 
place. I forbear much more that might be faid to this purpofe, and 
have only mentioned thefe Things, to iKew how unreafonable it is, that 
when there are very obvious, native and fate Conftru£tions of the Senfe of 
the Particle, in the Abjuration, men fhould force upon it fuch a Mean¬ 
ing as mull needs choak themfelvesj unlefsthe Legiflature that framed 
this Oath at firft, had exprefly declared that to have been their Meaning 
of it, which they never did j and I am perfwaded never thought oE 
Was there ever an Oath of any Length compos'd in the World, where¬ 
in there were not Particles to be found, on which men might have ob¬ 
truded a Senfe contrary to the Principles of thefe that were oblig’d to 
fwearit, and to the Defign of fuch as framed it? And about the Senfe 
of fuch Particles, Men might have wrangled without End, ftill feek- 
ing to have them explain’d, and then feeking to liave fome Particle 
in thefe Explications further explain’d, and fo on for ever. But the 
common Reafon pf Mankind taught them, that where there was a 
plain and genuine Senfe of an Oath, that is undoubtedly fafe, 
they ought not to flrain it into another Senfe tliat is not fo. 

The bell way of Difcovering.in what Senfe the Parliament of 
lequired fuch as took the Abjuration^ to fwear to maintain the SucceP* 

fioa 


Hon to the Crown, as fettled by the Acts of Parliament cited therein^ 
and what they uncierftood by the Settlement, and Entail of the Crown 
contained in thefe Adts, will be,to confider,how that Matter is fpoken of 
in the Adt ot\Union, where the Parliament of Scotland fettles the Siiccef- 
fion to the Crown for Default of Ifliieof Her Majefty, upon the Princeft 
Sophia of Hanover and the Heirs of her Body, .being Proteftants, upon 
whom the Crown of England is fettled by Ad* of Parliament, made in 
that Kingdom, &c. And this the Englijb Parliament ratified, as fully an- 
fwering the Defign of thefe Adis of Parliament, whereby the SnccelTion to 
their Crown was efl:abliflied,and which ar^ mentioned in the Abjuration.So 
that what the Englijh Parliament in the Oath eipreffed by the Succ^- 
fion of the Crown^ as the fame is, and /lands fettled and entailed in 
fuch Adis, the Scots Parliament Exprefs, by the Succeffion of the 
Crown, to the Princefs Sophia and her Heirs, being Protejiants on 
whom the Crown of England is fettled and entailed in thefe fame Adis, 
and this the Engli/h Parliament underffands, as fully expreffing all that 
they meant by the other Words. So that in the Senfe of the EngUflo Par- 
liament, he that fwears in the Abjuration, to maintain the Succeflion of 
the Crown,'to the Princefs Sophia oi Hanover, and her Heirs,beingPVote- 
ftants 5 as the fame is,and. ftands fettled and entailed by the Adis there cited, 
ftl'ears to no more, than if he had fworn in the Words of the Scots Parlia¬ 
ment, to maintain the Succeflion of the Crown to the Princefs 
and her Heirs, being Proteftants, on whom the fame is fettled and entail¬ 
ed by the Adis mentioned in the Oath, without any Reduplication upon\ 
the other things contained in thefe Adis, or comprehending them in the 
leaft, more than if they had been Enadted by feparate Laws, not at all 
cited in the Oath. 

And it ought to be obferved. That while in the Oath of Abjuration, 
there are two Adis of Parliament cited, there is alfo fomething repeat¬ 
ed out of each of thefe Adis, which the Taker of the Oath is to fwear to, 
in exprefs Words, viz. Out of the firft Adt, after the Title of it 5 thefe 
Words are added ( to Her prefent Majefty, and the Heirs of Her Body, 
being Proteftants) So that the Citation ftands as it were in Parenthefi^and 
the Oath runs thus, I faithfully promife, to the iitmojl of my Power, to fup- 
f,ort, maintain and defend the SucceJ/ion of the Crown again/i him the /aid 
James, and all other Perfons whaifoever, C as the Janie is, and (Jands fettled, 
by an Afl Intituled,. 4 n AB declaring the Rights and Liberties of theSnb^ 
jeB, and fettling the Succejfon oj the Crown) to Her prefent Majejiy, and 
the Heirs of Her Body,being Protejiants : Thus tar only did this Ad carry 
the Settlement & Entail of the Crown.And by the Way,let us mark.TIiat 
here the Parliament calls a ^loroination of the Succeflbr, without any 

particular 


C ) , 

particular Conditions, a fettling of the Succeffion ^ and mull we notun' 
cierUcHid the Settlement and Entail of the Succelhon fpoken of in the 
following Words, in the very fame Senfe> In the fame Manner muft we 
read the Words following, ^ And as the fame ( by another Ad, Intiful- • 
ed, An Acl for the further Limitation of the.Cromiy and better Securing the ■ 
Rights and Liberties of the Subject ) if, and fiands fettled and entailed 
td the Prineefs Soi^h.13: Eldcirefs and Diftchefs VowagQr of Hanover, and 
the Heirs of hef Body, being Protefiants. Where again, the Parliament 
repeats out of the Body of the fecond Act, all that they would have us 
to' fwear to. For if their De^gn had been, that in the Oath Men fhould 
Iwear to all that is containea in both thefe Acts, they would not have 
repeated any part of the Ads themfelves in the Oath at alU hut only 
have referred to the Ads in. the Bulk, and menfiohed nothing of them 
biit their Titles. But by obliging us to repeat fomething out.of thefe 
Ads, its very plain they meant, That no more of the Ads fhould come 
within the Oath, than what is exprefly fo repeated. And to leave no 
Doubt about this, it is immediately fubjoined in the Oath, That we 
fttear according to thefe exprefs ffords by its fpoken : And is this any 
more than is ordinarly done in citing of Scripture? where we ufuall}’' cite 
a part of a Chapter, yea, or a part ot a Verfe, in which Chapter or Verfe 
there are other Things that do not concern the Matter we are difcourfing 
of, and fo arc not cited or referred to by us, tho we ufually fay, as it is 
written in fuch a Chapter a^id fuch a Verfe, and then fe^eat the Words' 
only which anfwer our prefent Purpofe. 

Belide this, its eafie to fee. That the Titles of the Acts mentioned, re-. 
late to two different Subjects; and accordingly the Bodies of thefe Acts 
contain Purpofes that are perfectly diftinct.To fhew this particularly as" 
to the lafl: Act which is moft under our Confideration •, One part of its 
Title concerns the further Limitation of t-he Crown : And tho fome were 
led intoaMiftake at firft as totheMeaning of that Word Limitation, in' 
the Senfe of the Englijh Law that is now fufliciently cleared,and it 
is made evident, That the Senfe of it is, the further Entail of the Crown, 
and iengthning out the Line of Succeffion,further than thefirfl: Adt therc- 
anent had done. The other part of the Title concerns the better fecnr- 
ing the Rights and Liberties of the Suhjeti : And accordingly in the 
Body of the Act, what is promifed in the firfi: part of the Title, the fur¬ 
ther Entail of the Crown, is finiflied before the other part, that concerns 
:the ft curing the Rights and Liberties of the Sitbjebi, is entred upon,. Now 
in this fi.fl: part of the Act, the Entail of the Crown is fettled in the ve-r 
fy Terms of the Oath of Abjuration, to the Princefs Bopbi/s and the 

Heirs 


('ll ) 

Heirs of her Body, being Proteftants. And then begins the bfher pare 
of the Act, that concerns the fecuring the Rights and Liberties of the 
Subject. And by the Subject is here meant the Englijh Subject ; for this 
Act was made in Englatid, long before the Union, So that all that fol¬ 
lows in the ^^ct after thefe Words ( Provided alroays^ and it is hereby i?- 
tiavted, &c. } concerns only the fecuring the Privileges of the Subjects 
of England, wherein neither our Oath nor our felvescan any Way be 
concerned. .<^nd tho in the iecond Paragraph of the Act, there arefome 
things Enacted,as irritant Claufes of the Entail,fuch as,That the Succefibr 
inuft not be a Papift, nor marry a Papift ; Yet the Parliament by in- 
lerting among thefe, the jrfdminiftration of the Coronation Oath, 
have plainly (hewed, that all thefe Provifions together, were only de- 
figned for fecuring the Rights and Privileges of the Subject ; And 
fo come not within our Oath at all. 

^nd with what Shadow of Reafon can any Man pretend, That allthe 
Provifions of Government contained in this Act, come within the Oath 
of abjuration ? I am perfwaded no Confcientious Subject in England, of 
whatfoever Perfwafion ever did, or would take the Oath with that 
yiew, as to bind himfelf by Oath, to endeavour in his Station to fee all 
thefe Conditions fulfilled, or to make hisfupporting the Succefibr’s Title 
to the Crown, depend upon Provifions, which were only to take Place 
after the Succefibr becomes a Sovereign, and is in the aftual Adminiftra- 
on of the Government, and tothe accomplifhing of which, no Subjedlcaa 
bind himfelf by Oath at all. Such are, That England{hAX not be oblig- 
^cd without Confent of Parliament; to engage in War for any of the 
SuccefTor’s Sovereign Dominions. That the ^cceflbr fhall not go out d 
Britain or Ireland without Confent of Parliament, Thai Privy Coun* 

fellors fhall fign their Advices tb the ^Sovereign, thefe things can never 
come within the Oath of any Subjeft, though they are Laws made for 
the preferring of their Rights. 

If the Parliament had defigned thefe Provifions of Government fhould 
be fworn to be maintained, then they muft, ofConfequence, be fixed 
and unalterable 5 and yet no Body doubts, but that moft of them may 
be altered by the Legiflature: And fome of them, even fince the fram^i 
ing of the Oath have been altered already. And if the reft of the Provi- 
lions contained in this K€t are not fworn to, nor approven in this Oath, 
neither is the Succeflbr’s being of the Communion of the Church of En^ 
land, or his taking the Coronation Oath, which makes the great Di^ 
culty. 

' C Hovf 



) 

How furprifing will it appear in EvgUnd, That any fliould imagine 
the mentioning ot the two Atls of Parliament in the Abjuration, brings 
in all that thele Ads contain into the Oath : This is to put fuch a Senfe 
on it, as no Man ever dreamed of before. This was never the Defign of 
the Parliament that framed the Oath, who contrived it not only foj 
Men who were of the Principles of the Church Englatid, but to diftin- 
guifh all who were of the Principles of the Revolution, from either open 
or fecret Jacobites, And the Parliament that framed this Oath never 
meant it in fuch a Senfe, as fhould necelTarly hav£ choaked the whole 
Body of the Diflenters in England^ who were no fmali Promoters and 
Supports of the Revolution Iiitereft. 

The Diflenters in Engla>jd would have been as far from taking the 
Oath, if that had been the Senfe of it, as the Presbyterians in Scotland 
can be; and they had all poffible Advantages of underflanding what was 
the Senfe of the Parliament that framed it ; Many of them were upon 
the Place, when thi^ Oath was a framing and under the Parliament’s 
Confideration 5 they had Opportunities of converting with the very Men 
that contrived and enaded it, and not a few of them were Members of 
Parliament at that Time j and after all found no Ground to fcruple at the 
Oath, as contrary to their Principles , which it muflr certainly have 
Been, if all thats contained in the Ads.mufl: be fworn to, or approvea 
by fuch as take it. 

In the Year 1708, when by the firfl: BrltlJJj Parliament, this Oath 
was impofed upon all that were in publick Offices either Civil or Mili¬ 
tary in Scotland, it was reprefented to the Parliament, by fome of our 
Members, That the Oath was fcrupled at by Prefbyterians here, 
fcecaufe of the Reference to the Ads of Parliament, that are mention¬ 
ed in it* And if there is any Credit to be given to Gentlemen of the 
greateft Honour and Integrity, no Member of that Parliament ever 
advanced. That any more of thefe Ads came into the Oath than what 
wasexpreffed in the Body of it, info many Words. Andbecaufe the 
Word, Limited, was then in the Oath, and many here in Sicotland did 
not know what was the Senfe of that Word in the EngUpo Law ^ And 
Jthei>efore fbme thought, That whoever took the Oath, fwore to, or at 
ieafl: approved of all the Provifions of Government contained in the 
Ads that were cited, and which we in Scotland would have called Limi’- 
station's upon the SuccelTor. Therefore when this was reprefented to the 
Parliament, they very readily took out the Word which was miffaken, 
mid in place thereof, put in the Word Entailed, that every Body might 
know, ihat in the Abjuration nothing was fworn to, diut the Entail of 

she. 


the Succeffion’ and no other of the Provi/Tons contained in the A6fs,hnfi 
that fingle one that is eiprefly repeated in the Oath, Viz. That^he 
SnccefTor muft be Proteftant, And whether the Parliament then change* 
cd the Words ot the Oath exadly according to our Mind or not; Yet 
its plain they deligned by what they did, to make it fully agreeable to 
our Principles: And thought by the Alteration they made, that they 
had done fo, and thereby did evidenly difcover. That the Senfe of the 
Legiflature, that framed and impofed the Oath, as it now ftands, for 
the Presbyterians in Scotland was very fafe. 

I know there was a Propofal made in this prefent Parliament for a 
further Change of the Words of the Oath ; That in ftead of thefe Words 
( as the fawe is anh [lands fettled) they would be plcafed to put in which 
IS and [lands fettled^ Scc. And to. this the Parliament did not agree,the 
declared Reafon of whidi ( and we are not concerned to pry into the 
fecret ones, if any fuch were ) was, becaufe they reckoned that Altera- 
tion not worth the while, feing the Words now in the Oath are o£ 
the fame Import, with thefe that were delired to be put in their Place, 
and if fuch a Change had been made, the _ Parliament muft alfb 
‘have altered fome Laws flow in Force, concerning the Abjuration as it 
now ftands. 

But againft all this it is alleged, That if nothing contained in the 
A£ls of Parliament that are cited,is brought into,or doth affedlthe Oath 
of Abjuration,except what is eiprefted therein;then the Succeftbr’s being 
a Proteftant, without any other Qualification, obliges the Swearer of 
this Oath to maintain and fupport his Succeffion to the Crown, whether 
he be, or do, as to other things. And confequently, tho it be declaredi 
in the Ad of Parliament that fettles the Entail of the Crown.thatif the 
Succeftbr marry a Papift, he is for ever incapable to inherit the Crown, 
and it fhall defcend to the next Proteftant Heir, as if the Succeftbr thus 
marrying,were naturally Dead, and that in fuch a Cafe, the People are 
abfolved of their Allegiance. Yet by the Abjuration, if the Succef- 
ibr is Proteftant, we are obliged to fupport and maintain his'Succeftiorr,’ 
without Regard to his marrying a Papift or not; That is, in fuch a Cafe, 
the Oath obliges to fupport a Succeftbr’s Title to the Crown, even a- 
gainft the Law, if he is Proteftant, but fhall happen to marry a Pa- 

pift. ... 

But here we muft carefully diftinguifh betwixt the Qualification of 
the Succeftbr infert in the Oath,which is no other than his being Proteft¬ 
ant, and.the Reftridions laid upon him by Law, as that he lhall not 
marry a Papift j for though in this laft Cafe, the jSuccefrdr is not ex- 
.. ; ^ c 2 ’ prefly 


renounced or difclaimed by the Oatb,yet he is exprefly excluded 
by Law •, and what is the hazard tho the Oath doth not run fo far, 
as to the Terms on which the Succcflbr may be excluded, as the Law 
doth. Yet the Oath never obliges any man to adl contrary to the Law t 
for if the Succeflbr doth marry aPapift, the .Law declares him Dead 
as to the Succeflion, and fo he is no more a Perfon that can claim the 
Obligation of any Oath formerly taken in his Favours, or to whom any 
Man is obliged by it. And here by the Law, I do not mean the Afls of 
Parliament made in England, and cited in the Oath ^ for I have faid 
before, that we are concerned with no more of thefe Afts than is repeat¬ 
ed in the Gath; The refl: of thefe Adis concerning only the Subjedta 
of England as fuch, and the fecuring their Rights and Privileges: But 
by the Law here I mean the fecond Article of Union, in which the Inca¬ 
pacity of the Succeflbr to inherit the Crown, in cafe he marry a Papift, 
IS exprefly ratified by the Parliaments of both Kingdoms y but none of 
all the reft of the Provifions mentioned in the £«^/7/?> Adis of Parliament, 
are taken Notice of. In a Word, the Legiflature that Impofes thisOath, 
and in whofe Senfe it is to be taken, declares that the Obligation of it 
in Favours of any particular Succeflbr, fhall continue no longer, than 
he is legally capable of fucceeding.The Succeflbr alfo knows by the pro¬ 
mulgate Law, what makes him legally incapable to inherit or fuccecd 
to the Grown, and if he does what brings him under fuch an Incapacity, 
he is in that Cafe, Felo de fe ^ and the Obligation of all Oaths, taken by 
the Subjedls of Great Britain, in Favours of his Succeflion, is ipfofaSio de¬ 
termined,and at an End,as much as if we had feen him Expire, But this 
does not flow from any thing contained in the Oath it felf y but from 
the Law which is cxtrinfick to it,andyet doth confeqnently regulate the 
Obligation of it : As for example. If I fwear to leave fuch a man my 
Eftate,he being Proteftant, yetfo it happens that betwixt my Oath and 
the Time of it"s Accomplifhment, the Man to whom I fwore is for 
Treafon againft the Government, declared for ever incapable of enjoy¬ 
ing, fucceeding to, or difpofing of any Eftate or Inheritance within the 
Kingdom And it is declared by the Legiflature, that alf Rights and 
Conveyances made in his Favours, fhall defeend to his next Heir as if 
he were naturally Dead 5 furely in this Cafe, the Obligation of my Oath 
determines, and is at an End, as to the Man in whofe Favours it was 
made •, Becaufeof the legal Incapacity he is under to enjoy and claim 
the Benefit of it s And becaufe the Law conveys his Right to the Eftate, 
by virtue of my Oath, to another, tho all the while he is Proteftant, and 
there was no other Qualification mentioned in the Oath. Yet the Law 
in this Cafe takesPlace, as if there had.been no fuch Oath made at all. 


01 


C 21 ) 

Of the fame Nature is another Cafe that hath been put. If theSuccef- 
for (hall happen to be either fatuous, or a declared Tyrant, and E- 
neiny of Mankind \ yet if he be a profeft Proteftant, are not Men by 
the Oath of Abjuration bound to maintain and fupport his Succeffion to 
the Crown? But its certain, no Oath can bind any Man to that which 
the Law of God and Nature Countermands s no Oathof this Nature can 
bind a Man to help a Succeifor to the Throne, who, he is fure, will do 
Mifthief when he is on it, and who will always extend his Injuries in 
Proportion to the Encrcafe of his Power. 

You’ll perhaps fmile if I tell you, I have heard fome Argue againU 
what is faid in the Clofeof this Oath j That it is made heartily and 
vpillingly *, whereas it will readily be taken with no good Will by many. 
But by taking this Oath 'heartily and willingly, is meant only a man’s 
doing it Sincerely, and with the fame kind of Willingnefs, that an hon- 
cft Man takes all Oaths, even fuch about which he hath no Difficulty ; 
and that is never till he/is commanded, and fees a Hazard in difobeying,, 
and therefore being fatisfied as to the Matter he is to fwear, he gives 
bis Oath willingly, rather than difobey. 

Thus I have given you, as plainly^and fliortly as I could, my Thoughts^ 
concerning the Lawfulnefs of this Oath, and its Confiftency with Revo¬ 
lution and Presbyterian Principles. I promifed next to confider, Whe- 
tlier it is moft for the Intereft of the Church, that Her Minifters either 
take or refufe it; and confequently what all of them ought to do in the 
prefent Gircumftances. 

And her(^ there are fome that plead the Oath ought to be with one 
Gonfbnt refufed, becaufe there are not a few Minifters, who are not 
fully perfwaded of the Lawfulnefs of it ^ and feing they cannot with a 
good Gonfcience go along with fuch as take the Oath, therefore their 
Brethren ought in Tendernefs to join with them in refufing it, rather 
than give Offence to thefe who think it unlawful, and break the Unity 
of the Church, wherein Her Safety doth confift.^ 

But though in a Matter indifferent, a Cliriftian is obliged to forbear 
ufing bis Liberty, that he may not offend his weak Brother 5 yet no 
man ought to forbear that which is commanded Duty upon that Accounts 
and if while he is doing, what in Duty and Gonfcience he is obliged to 
do, hisBrother will needs be offended with him, then the Offence is tak¬ 
en, but not given, and is another’s Fault, not hisi 

Now Suppofingthe Matter of this Oath to be Lawful, then certainly 
it becomes the Duty of allj who believe itfo,to take it,, when it is Im- 
Dofed by Lawful Authorityj And if any Miniftcr or Chriftian will of. 
^ fend 


( 22 ) 

fend at another’s doing that which he thinks nimfclf bound to do by the 
Law of God, they are much to blame. 

And if all the Minifters in Scotland cannot fee this Oath in the fame 
Light, as it were much to be defircd,they did; But that l*nie of them 
may happen to refufefhe Oath, and others think themfeivcs not only 
free, but obliged to take it: Yet why fhould this Difference in Men’s 
Sentiments, produce any Divifion in the Church, while Minifters only 
differ about the Seufe of the Oath, and none take it in the Senfe 
wherein others refufe it, nor do any condemn it as unlawful in the Senfe 
wherein others declare they underftand it and take it. And may not 
Chriftian and Brotherly Love be ftill kept up among Minifters, that a-, 
gree in every thing elfe but their Opinion as to the Senfe of the A{)ju- 
ration. Surely they who take this Oath ought not to defpife thefe who 
■refufe it*, neither fhould fuch as refufe the Oath, condemn ana cry out 
againft thefe who take it, feing both of them ought in Charity and Rea- 
fon to look on each other as acting Confcientioufly, and doing as they 
judge themfelves obliged by the Command of God to do. 

It fome Minifters think themfelves obliged rather to give up their 
Miniftry than take this Oath’(and give it up they muft who ever take it 
not ) the Church of and their Brethren in particular, muff 

needs bewail their Lofs ; but will ftill expect the Afliftance of their 
Prayers, their Counfel and Advice, and what other Service they can 
give. But its very hard for fuch to plead, -That othersof their llrethren 
ftiould facrifice their Mhiiftry, to that vvhich they look upon as other 
MensMiftake. And this muft not be look’t on as a Civil Office, which 
a Man may part with at his Pleafure, but every Man is fworu to main¬ 
tain his Miniftry, folong as he can do it with a good Confcience. And 
how can he evite the Guilt of Perjury, that willingly gives up his Mi¬ 
niftry, onlybecaufe he will not do that at the Command of Authority, 
which he believes both Lawful and Duty. * 

I know it is argued by foine,^ that if thrs Oath be taken, as things 
now ftand, other ftraitning things may follow; yea other Oaths may be 
impofed upon us afterward, about which alfo, as well as about this Oath 
A'iinifters may have different Apprehenlions ^ and thus fome will be 
turn’d out now, and fome at another time, and fo on till all the confci- 
cntious Minifters in Scatfand 2ixe2it length fet off; but with this Difad- 
vantage, that they will be fplit and broken into Pieces, becaufe of their 
not having gone all uponthe fame Grounds. And thereforelhey think 
it better, that all the Minifters ftiould ftand unite againft this Shock at 
_ the 


( 23 ) 

the teglnnhig 5 by doing whereof they may either keep their Ground or 
at leaft go off, if they muft go without dividing among themfelves. 

Only as to the Matter it felf’, this were very good Realoning, if all 
the Minifters oi Scotland perfwaded of the Sinfulnefso^ this Oath, of 
counted it even but doubtful. But fuch as believe the Matter of the 
Oath Lawful, and look on it therefore as their Duty to take it, muft 
rot make their Apprehenfions concerning future Events, the Rule of 
their Pradfice, or the Meafure of their Obedience as to prefent 
Duty. 

Whoever refufe this Oath muft lay their Account to ftiffer for their 
doing fo; either they muft intirely give up their Miniftry, and this if 
in it felf grievous Sufferings or they mufliExercife it at thchigheft Perils 
and if they Exercife their Miniftry without taking the Oath, they are 
liable;^ to 500 Pound fieri, of Fine, are declared incapable to fue in 
LaWjto receive any Gift,Legacy or Donation, and to be fo much as Tutor 
to any Child, andin Effect are outlaw'd by the Government. Now he 
that refufeth the Oath lays himfelfopen to all thefe Penalties ; and we 
are not living under an Adminiftration that are like to be flack in 
Executing the Law to the utmoft in this Cafe. So that he that believes 
this Oath Lawful, and refufcs to take it, runs himfelfupon very heavy 
Sufferings, and ftates them upon a Foundation, that will afford him but 
little Peace afterward, when he thinks he hath brought all thefe Mif- 
t^hiefs upon hiinfelf, only becaufehe would not do that which he was 
perfuaded he not only might but ought to have done, and becaufe that’ 
to gratifie his Brethren who were ol another Mind, he would not obey 
Lawful Authority, in that which he hiinfelf thought a Lawful thing,* 
If othdr things be impofed afterwards upon the Miniftry in Scotlandy 
that are evidently finful and contrary to their Principles, then they 
know what they have, to do 5 and I hope then they will unanimoufly 
chufe rather to fuffer than to fin : But they will have a folid Founda’ 
tion to ftate iheif Sufferings upon, and can complain to God and the 
World, that they^ are fuffering for Confcience’s fake s and neither upon. 
Humor nor Politick. But they ffiould not run upon fuffering juft now, 
becaufe they fear it may come afterward. A Man muft not cut his 
own Throat to day, becaufe his Enemy is like to knock him on tffhead.to 
morrow. * - 

■ And let us cphfider what will be the Advantage of. the Church of Scot¬ 
land, fuppofing all .her Minifters together refufe the Oath, arc not their 
Enemies lying at Catch, and wifhing for this very thing ? Is not this to* 
ruin their Church Eftabliffmient with theirown Hands, and not only to 
" - give 



■give the Government a Handle, but even to lay them under a NecelTity 
of fiilingtheir Rooms, witlithey know not what kind of Succeflbrs? is not 
this to leave their Flocks to be deftroyed by Ignorance and Profanity, and 
perhaps to be invaded by Wolves in Read of being guided by 5 hepherds > 
and all this upon fuch Grounds as they dare not avow to their Lord 
and Matter. Shall the Minitters of Scotland be Adtive in bringing all 
thefe Mifchiefs upon the Church, and make themfelves accountable for 
all the Conlequences that may follow both to her and themfelves,' only 
becaufe they will not take a Lawful Oath when commanded to do if > 
And what is the fafety ofthe Minitters though they ihould unanimouf- 
ly refufe to take this Oath > Who lhall ttand up for them, or Interpol 
with the Government not to be rigorous in executing the Penalties of 
the Law againft them? Our Friends in England have all taken this 
Oath themfelves 5 and fo have all the Nobility and Gentry ofyhePreshy- 
terianPerfwafion in Scotland^ that are or have been inanyPuplick Trufi 
lince the Union. And if the Minitters refufe to take it, they upon the 
Matter load all the Diflenters in England and Ireland^ and all their bett 
Friends here in either with LifingenuityjinprofefTing Principles 

they do not believe ; Or Weaknefs, in not difcerning the Inconfittency 
of their Principles with fuch an Oath 5 Or which is wortt of all, with 
Perjury, in taking an Oath which they knew to be contrary to their 
Principles. And is not this to oblige thofe who find themfelves fo load¬ 
ed, in their own Defence, to Tax the Minitters, as a Set of fbolifh Men, 
and to leave them to ttand upon their own Legs, and refufe them any 
Countenance or Support on fuch a footing ? And this indeed is all the 
Strength which the Miniftry is like to gather by refufing the Oath. 

Befide, their relufing this Oath is like to giveaconfiderable Wound to 
the Protettant Succelfion. Seing the Minitters of this Church have been 
always look’t upon as a Body of Men that was very well affedted there¬ 
unto. And how furprifing will it be, to fee them refufe to fwear to 
maintain that Succelfion for which they always Pray •, and that upon 
fuch Grounds of Scruple, as no Body ever dreanfd of but themfelves ? 
What mutt theFamily of Hanover think when they fee thefe Minitters re¬ 
fufing the Oath and laying down their Charges, and giving up their In¬ 
fluence among the People to a Set of Men that are declared Enemies to 
their Succelfion, and that at a time, when it became all their Friends 
to ftiew the greatett Concern for preferving it > What mutt that Family 
think of all this, but either that fuch Men are not fo heartily their 
Friends as they pretend, or at leaflrthat they are a Set of weak peevilb 

Men, 


__ C 25 : ) 

llfen, that can do them no confiderable Service, and whofc Interefl it is 
not worth their while to fupport? . 

This will be to do our Enemies Bufinefs for them ElFeflually, and 
play the Jacobites Game to their Hand : And give up to them at 
- once, what for many Years they have fought in vain to obtain. And 
as on the one Hand, the Minifters of this Church had never a fair¬ 
er Opportunity of giving a fevere Blow to the Jacobite Interefl: in this 
Kingdom : So upon the other Hand, by not taking this Oath, they ruin 
themfelves, and deeply wound the Revolution Interefl:. This the o- 
ther Party are aware of, and therefore are very careful to put Scrup¬ 
les into Mens Heads, and raufter up all the Difficulties which they hope 
will hinder Minifters to take the Oath. And its obfervable how induf- 
trious they are in fpreading Stories, as if this Prefbytery, and that 
Synod, had pofitively refolved againft it; and how liberal they are in com- 
mendingfuch as either write orfpeak againft it,tho withneverfo mnchWeak- 
iiefs, and upon Principles which they heartily abhor. Thefe things plainly 
Ihew their Delign, and they arefo wife as not to declare themfelves on 
this Head, till they fee what the eftabliflied Minifters will do ^ forefee- 
ing that whatever Choice they make, the other fide only is left to them. 
And if they muft take the Abjuration, they had much rather take it, to 
become again a fettled Church, than only to get the Benefit of the To¬ 
leration*; for even this laft they will not readily have, without the- 
path, if the eftabliflied Minifters take it. 

I fhall conclude this Paper whenihave obferved. That there are fome 
Men, who in their Difcourfes, their Sermons and Writings, have gone. 
v.ery far in declaring themfelves againft this Oath, and think it diflion- 
oiirablefor them toretradi; but rather chufe to draw as many as they can 
into their Sentiments, becaufe they were fo unwary at firft, as not to leave 
themfelves a fair and open Retreat. If fuch Men are not to be reafoned or 
dealt with at this time of Day, yet I think others fliould be aware of them, 
as too far prejudg’d in this Matter, and wife Men fhonldtake Care, not to 
be toaeafily led or influenced by fuch. Its alfo poffible tjiere may be fome 
Minifters, who being uneafieintheplaceswheretheyferve, or being wil¬ 
ling upon other particular Confiderations to be rid of their Miiiiftry, may 
incline to make their refufing the Abjuration a handfome Pretence But it is 
hoped ifthereare any fuchMiniftersin5'cot/^j;7/J,they will take heed how they 
wound the Church and weaken the Hands of their Brethren, by their taking 
ruch Meafures at this Time; and if after all, there be any that will do fo, kt 
themAnfwer to theirMafterfor it.Butnolnfluence or Authority of anyNiim- 
berofMen, nay nor of any Church Judicature, that is not owmed to be in¬ 
fallible, ganor ought, to determine a Man’s Confcience,, as to the Law- 
^ “ - - D, fulnefs. 




. : . ■.. (rf)-- . . ■ i . 

fnlnefs of an Oath, further than the Reafons of their Determinatifuft are 
aljleto fupport it •, and alter ai-^^ thing-that can belhne tQ. this R’rpofe,. 
Meninufl: Rillad according as their Gonfciences ate iclear;._ And tortlhs, 
Reafon I donotfee. to what purppfe the tabling pthhisAffiii' judicially inan 
Afleinbly canferve : ForbolKlefthe yilible Inc6nvenieiicies that may arife, 
fijoin fuchFabliclt aiyl Judicial Realbningsh about Obedienceto a Law al¬ 
ready Enadted ^ neither will the Alreinoiy’s declaring-this Oath LaWiul, 
Determine or Conclude fuch as tliinlOt fiot nor bn’tire ether ^and, will; 
their determining it unlawful, or al leaftapp.ointing'it not to he l ake'n t if 
an Airembly would be fuffered to give , fuch a Determination, or make fuch 
an Appointment j conclude .thefe that believed it Lawful^ But only run 
Minifters into the unhappy ofeitlier difobeying the Church in . 

what they think ought not to have been appointed by them ; or the 
State, in what they think Lawful in itfelh and therefore Duty to obey 
tliein in. 

And to what Purpofe fliould Application be made for an Explication of 
‘this Oath by the Pari lament? Is not the SenfeoftheOarh fixed already, and 
fufficientlycle^-edby theParliameait thatEnadedit? .And can this Parli- 
apient s giving apy particular benfeof the Abjuiatioii,m'ake the Wwd^ofit : 
tQ have really another Meaningj^ tiian’^by were deEgnedto have ^ 
that framed it ? Such Propofals ferve to no other end, that I kno\v^: but ro" 
embarafs this Church further, and bring upon it new Difficulties, bemethefe .; 

that are complained of already. _ . ^ 

Let us rather feek Light and Direflion from God, and be willing and at 
Pains tobe informed ^ and may the Holy Spirit of God,- the blefled Com¬ 
forter and Guide of his People, lead us into all Truth, and help us tomaintaifl 
theUnity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace. 


F I N I S.